Hyoemon Kyono and Katsusuke Ishihara, based on their research, believed that the original pure type of Akita dog was probably the size of the "Matagi ("Hunting")" dogs that rarely exceeded 1 shaku 9 sun (approximately 58 cm, 22.6 inches) in height that lived in the mountain villages of Akita and Iwate. (18, 13) Examples of such "Matagi" dogs were Oyajiro-go of Mr. Hyoemon Kyono, Fuji-go of Kesakichi Takahashi and Sentaro-aka of Keiji Takahashi. These were famous medium hunting dogs that were registered with Mippo in the early 1930s. (19)
Katsushiro Kudo of the Iwate University has stated that these "Matagi" dogs were slightly larger than the medium Japanese dogs. He named the "Matagi" dog from Iwate the Iwate dog, and placed the larger dogs from Akita into a separate category. (20)
Hirokichi Saito stated in 1953 that he believed that the Akita is a "non-fighting watch dog" created out of outcrossing medium Japanese dogs to imported western dogs and Tosa fighting dogs. This dog is then to be restored toward the Japanese dog type. (21)
According to Hiraizumi Ryonosuke and others, the goal of informed Japanese dog breeders is to increase the size of the Akita dog, while trying to retain the Japanese dog type. (22)
Naoto Kajiwara and Hirokichi Saito were of the opinion that no size distinctions were made of the Japanese dogs prior to the Tokugawa Period (1615-1867), and much, crossbreeding occurred early in developing regions.
Mr. Kajiwara believed that the Akita dog inhabited this area from prehistoric times as a ji-inu (regional dog) or as a matagi dog. However, Mr. Saito believed that the Akita dog is of "comparatively recent origin." (23)
Hirokichi Saito organized the Nipponinu (Nihonken) Hozonkai, also known as Nippo (Nichiho), in 1928. (24). Although the Akitalnu Hozonkai (Akiho), was established a year earlier in 1927 in Odate by the then mayor, Shigeie Izumi, dog breeders in Odate, at that time, were more interested in fighting dogs rather than preserving and restoring the Akita dog.
The story of the faithful Hachi-ko, an Akita dog born in Akita in 1923, first appeared in the October 4, 1933 issue of the Asahi Shinbun (Asahi News) in Japan, and spread around the world. Hachi- ko accompanied his loving master. Professor Eizaburo Ueno of the Agricultural Department of the Tokyo University to the Shibuya Station daily. However, on May 21, 1925, the professor suffered a fatal stroke while lecturing at the university. Hachi-ko continued going to the Shibuya Station for ten years until his death, to await his master who was never to return. (42) A statue of Hachi-ko is still seen at the Shibuya Station.
According to Katsusuke Ishihara, Hachi-ko is considered a good representative of the Akita dog of his day. (43) Hachi-ko's stuffed remains is on display at the National Science Museum at the Ueno Park in Tokyo.
PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION OF THE AKITA DOG
Very few Akita dogs survived World War Two due to food shortages and demands for their furs by the Japanese military. (44) The American Army of Occupation and civilian personnel began to notice these large Akita dogs, and were impressed. Demands for the Akita dog grew, and this is said to have contributed much toward revival of the Akita dog. (45)
Two main bloodlines of Akita dog emerged soon after World War Two. They were the Dewa and Ichinoseki lines. The Dewa line came from Dewa-go, a dog from the kennel of Yozaburo Ito named the Akidate-en. (46) The Ichinoseki line goes back to Ichinosekitora-go that was owned by the wealthy Kuniro Ichinoseki. According to Mutsuo Okada, Ichinosekitora can be traced back to the so-called "Shin" ("New") Akita fighting dog called "Gamata", which was a product of crossbreeding Akita fighting dogs with Tosa fighting dogs. (47)
The Tosa Fighting Dog resulted from outcrossing medium Tosa (Shikoku) dogs with western dogs such as the Bull Dogs, Mastiffs, St. Bernards, etc., in order to produce a powerful fighting dog. (48) No emphasis was placed on the appearance of the dog.
The Dewa line reached its peak of popularity with the coming of Kongo-go from the Heirakudo Kennel of Eikichi Hiraizumi of Odate. For a time it was said, "Kongokei ni arazunba Akitainu ni arazu ("If not from the Kongo line, 'tis not an Akita dog." Kongo- go was purchased at the age of eight months by Heihachi Hashimoto of Tokyo, a dog dealer and dog handler. He advertised Kongo-go as the "Dog of National Treasure Kongo-go". (49) Mr. Hashimoto is credited for bringing the attention of the Akita dog to the public soon after the Second World War.
Due to lack of uniformity In the Akita dog during the earlier years, breeders In Japan encountered much difficulties in trying to restore the Akita dog toward the Japanese dog type. The Dewa line was stereotyped as the "German Shepherd" type, while the Ichinoseki line was referred to as the "Mastiff" type. (50) The goal is to breed, toward the ideal Japanese type dog described in the Japanese Akita dog standards. Those involved with medium and small Japanese dogs at that time faced fewer such problems, because purer types of dogs were more readily available at the beginning due to less outcrossing with foreign dogs. (51)
The Dewa line, represented by the Kongo line, soon went into a decline, when most of the Japanese dog breeders began to feel that they were unable to produce Akita dogs that were representative of the Japanese dog breed. (52) Faults of the Kongo line were the loose skin around the neck, loose lips and corpulent appearance, these features were unlike those of Japanese dogs.
Dogs of the Ichinoseki line, represented by the Goromaru and Tamakuno lines, began to replace dogs of the Dewa line. However, according to Mutsuo Okada, some of the well known Akita dogs of recent times such as Tetsuyuki and Kumomaru are said to have the Kongo line in their background. (53) Goromaru-go was not a winner in the show ring, but produced outstanding Akita dogs of the Japanese type when bred to certain bitches of the Taihei and Nikkei lines from Southern Akita. (54) It was Katsusuke Ishihara of Akikyo and Hyoemon Kyono of Nippo and Akikyo, who saw the possibilities in Goromaru-go and used their influence to direct the breeding programs toward producing the Japanese type of Akita dog.55 Although Goromaru-go had his faults, his tight body, skin and lips were recognized as desirable features of the Japanese dog.
However, according to Ryonosuke Hiraizumi of Akiho, more recently (1991), some of the faults seen in the Akita dogs in Japan recently are the marked decrease in soboku (unaffected simplicity, natural, artlessness) and yashu-mi (rusticity), males appearing feminine, lack of body balance, having straight shoulders, narrow chest, "duck neck," weak hips and hindlegs, loss of seishin-ryoku (spirit), fading and gaudy coat colors around the face, chest, neck and front legs, soft coat, smaller size and undesirable temperaments. (56) Mutsuo Okada also points out the lower ear angulations and deep stops with shorter muzzles in many of the Akita dogs being shown today (1996). (57)
AKITA DOGS IN THE UNITED STATES
The first Akita dog is believed to have arrived in the United States around 1937, when the famous Helen Keller received, as a gift, an Akita dog named Kamikaze-go from Ichiro Ogasawara of Odate, an official of the Akitainu Hozonkai (Akiho). Kamikaze-go soon died from distemper, and Kenzan-go, an older brother of Kamikaze-go, was sent to Miss Keller in 1939 to replace Kamikaze- go. (58)
Many Akita dogs began to arrive in the United States after World War Two, especially during the 1950s. These dogs were mainly of the inbred Kongo-go type, which was popular in Japan at that time. (59) Mutsuo Okada states that he now sees four types of Akita dogs outside of Japan today (2000). 1. The Kongo line that has been preserved. 2. Red and red pintos with the black mask that went to the United States soon after the Kongo line. 3. Black without the clear brindle coat that went to the United States much later. 4. Akita dogs of the type being shown in Japan today. (60) Thus, many of the Akita dog breeders in the United States have taken different directions in the breeding of the Akita dog than breeders in Japan.
On February 28, 1974 the AKC registry was closed to further showing of imported Akita dogs. On April 13, 1992, the AKC registry recognized the Japan Kennel Club (JKC) registry and, therefore, began to allow imported Akita dogs from Japan to be shown at the AKC shows. (61)
RECENT CHANGES IN LATIN AMERICA AND EUROPE
Both the Kongo and Goromaru types as well as the current type of Akita dogs from Japan went to Latin America and Europe. According to Hiroshi Kamisato of the JKC, when the FCI accepted the Akita dog standard from the country of origin (1992), many of the Europeans began to change over to the current type of Akita dogs from Japan. The American type of Akita dogs with black masks and pinto coats were no longer able to win in FCI shows. Many of the Akita dog fans in Latin American countries had dogs of this so- called "American type." They were initially told that they were purchasing Akita dogs, and later told that these dogs were not the "true" Akita dogs. This led to some confusion there, but some of the fans in Spanish speaking countries wanted to show their "American type" Akita dogs in the variety category. This led to a request by some members in the FCI countries to divide the breed into two groups. Therefore, the FCI decided to divide the Akita dog into two breeds at a general meeting in Mexico in June 1999."
Currently in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, such dividing of the breed seems to be on hold until further study or for other reasons.
1. Kajiwara, Naoto, "Part 1, Introduction: The History of The Akita Dog," The Akita Journal, p. 26, Aug./Sept. 1977, The Akita Journal Publications.
2. Naora (Nagara), Nobuo, "The New Stone Age," (In Japanese) Shuryo (Hunting) p. 131, 1968, Hosei Daigaku Shuppankyoku (Hosei University Publishing Dept.), Tokyo, Japan.
3. Hiraziumi, Ryonosuke, "History," (In Japanese). Akitainu (Akita Dog) p. 16, 1987, Seibundo Shinkosha Publishing Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan. ISBN 4-416-58723-6-C0376.
4. Seki (Mori), Tadao, " Japanese Dogs That Appear in Ancient Art," (In Japanese) Nihonken Taikan (A Manual of The Japanese Dog), p. 4, 1953 (Reissued 1987), Seibundo Shinkosha Publishing Co., Ltd., ISBN 4-416-58700-7 C0076.
5. Saito, Hirokichi, "Japanese Dogs, Their History & Development," (In English). Nihonken Taikan (A Manual of The Japanese Dog) p. 239, 1953 (Reissued 1987),Seibundo Shinkosha Publishing Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.
6. Ibid., p. 239.
7. Ibid. p. 238.
8. Hiraiwa, Yonekichi, The History and Current Status of Japanese Dogs," (In Japanese). Inu wo Kau Chie (Ideas On Raising A Dog) p. 227, 1972, Ikeda Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan. 2045- 000507-0316.
9. Ibid., p. 228. ;
10. Ibid., p. 229.
11. Kajiwara, Naoto., "My Thoughts On The Akita Dog, Part III, The Tokugawa Period (1615-1867)", p. 16, Dec./Jan. 1978. The Akita Journal Publications. ....
12. Kuga, Koun, "Seibold and Japanese Dogs, Mountain Dogs and Wolves" (In Japanese), Aiken No Tomo p. 388, 1989, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
13. Ishihara, Katsusuke. Personal communication in Tokyo on Sept. 25, 1977.
14. Kajiwara, N. The Akita Journal, "Part IV, The Meiji Period (1868-1912)," p. 13, April/May 1978.
15. Kajiwara, N., The Akita Journal, "Part V, The Taisho Period (1912-1925)," p. 15, April/May 1978.
16. Kajiwara, N., "Part VI, The Early Showa Period (1925-1945) ," The Akita Journal, p. 27, June/July 1978.
17. Kajiwara, N., "Part I, Introduction" The Akita Journal, p. 21, August/ September 1977.
18. Kyono, Hyoemon, "The Large Type Dog: The Akita Dog," (In Japanese) Nihonken Taikan (A Manual of The Japanese Dog), p.21, 1953 (Reissued 1987), Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
19. Okada, Mutsuo, "From My Akifa Dog Album (41), Seeking Oyajiro's Footsteps, (Part 1)" (In Japanese), Aiken Journal 308:51- 54, (June) 1985, Shin-Journal-sha, Tokyo, Japan.
20. Kudo, Katsushiro, "The Medium Type Iwate Dog (Akita Matagi Dog)," (In Japanese) Nihonken Taikan (A Manual of The Japanese Dog), p, 47, 1953 (Reissued 1987), Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan. •
21. Saito, Hirokichi, "Japanese Dogs, Their History & Development," (In English)), p. 235, 1953 (Reissued in 1987), Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
22. Kimura, Tatsuo, "Rambling Through Japan, Fall 1992," Akita World, p. 89, January/February 1993, Hoflin Publishing Co., Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
23. Kajiwara, N., "Part IV, The Meiji Period (1858-1912)," The Akita Journal, p. 13, February/March 1978.
24. Kajiwara, N., "Part VI, The Early Showa Period (1925-1945)" The Akita Journal, p. 26, June/July 1978.
25. Personal communication with Katsusuke Ishihara in Setagaya.Tokyo on Sept. 29, 1977.
26. Ishihara, Katsusuke, "Akitainu Hyojun Seltei To Genasai Made No Keika" ("The Establishment of The Akita Dog Standard and Recent Advances") (In Japanese), Akitainu Tokuhon (Akita Dog Book), p. 90, 1963, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
27. Takaku (Takahisa), Heishiro, "Chapter TWO: The Establishment of The Japanese Dog Standard (In Japanese)." The Nippon Inu No Kaikata (How To Raise Japanese Dogs), pp. 45-122. 1933, Shunyodo, Tokyo, Japan. ;
28. Nakamura, Katsuichi (Shoichi), "The Japanese Dog Standard," Shumi No Inu (Dogs As a Hobby) (In Japanese), pp. 69-71, April 934, Kobunsha, Tokyo, Japan.
29. "Development of the Japanese Dog Standard (In Japanese)." Nipponken Hozonkai Soritsu Gojyushunenshi (Jokan) [Annals of Nippo's 50th Anniversary (First of Two Volumes)], p. 77-78, 1978.
30. Saito, Hiroshi (Hirokichi, Kokichi) et. al., "Symposium: A Candid Discussion On Japanese Dogs (In Japanese)," Aiken No Tomo, pp. 44-50, April 1954, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
31. A letter written in English to the leading kennel clubs in Europe and America, in 1935 by Ichiro Hata, Hon. Foreign Secretary of the Nippon Inu Hozonkai (NIH) (Nihonken Hozonkai) (Nippo) (Nichiho), Nippon Hozonkai Soritsu Gojyushunenshi (Jokan) [Annals of Nippo's 50 Anniversary (First of Two Volumes)?. 103-104, 1978.
32. Higuchi, Takio, "Reconsidering The Timeless Form of The Kishu Dog (In Japanese)," Aiken No Tomo, p. 508, June 1990, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
33. Okada, Mutsuo, "Animal Photographer: Toju Hirashima, Part 5 (In Japanese)." Aiken No Tomo, p. 401, December 2000, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
34. Hiraizumi, Ryonosuke, "Commentaries on the Akita Dog Standard (of the Akitainu Hozonkai(Akiho) (In Japanese)." Akitainu Tokuhon (Akita Dog Book), p. 35, 1963, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
35. Ishihara, Katsusuke, "Comments On The Establishment of The Akita Dog Standard and Its Current Status (In Japanese)," Akitainu Tokuhon (The Akita Dog Book), p. 90, 1953, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
36. Toyoshima, Kiyoji, "Commentaries On the Akita Dog Standard and Body Standard (In Japanese)," Akitainu Tokuhon (the Akita Dog Book), p. 62, 1963, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
37. Aiken No Tomo Editorial Dept., "The All Japan Akita Dog Union (J.A.S) (In Japanese)." Akitainu Tokuhon (Akita Dog Book) p. 235, 1963, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
38. Personal communication at JKC headquarters in Tokyo with Sadao Yukawa and Hiroshi Kamisato. Also see Akita World p. 92, Jan./Feb. 1993.39. Hiraizumi, Ryonosuke, "A Discussion on The Establishment of the Akita Dog Standard (In Japanese)." Akitainu Tokuhon (The Akita Dog Book), p.
39, 1963, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
40. Watanabe, Hajime, "Commentaries On The Establishment of the Standard for The Large Japanese Dog (In Japanese)." Akitainu Tokuhon (The Akita Dog Book), p. 72, 1953, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan. ;
41. Linderman, Joan M. & Funk, Virginia, "The Breed Standard in America," The Complete Aktta, pp. 87-89, 1983, Howell Book House, New York.
42. Kajiwara, N., "Part VI, The Early Showa Period (1925-1945)," The Akita Journal p. 28, June/July 1978.
43. Ishihara, Katsusuke. Personal communication in Setagaya, Tokyo on September 25, 1977.
44. Kajiwara, N., "Part VI, The Early Showa Period (1925-1945)," Th e Akita Journal, p. 29, June/July 1978.
45. Kajiwara, N., "Part VII, The Late Showa Period (1946-1959)," The Akita Journal, p. 14, Aug./Sept. 1978.
46. Ibid., p. 15.
47. Okada, Mutsuo, "Has The Akita Dog Been Restored (Resurrected)?, Part I," Akita World, p. 75, July/August 1999, Hoflin Publishing, Inc., Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
48. Nakashima, Gaifu, "On The Tosa (Fighting) Dog (In Japanese)," Nihonken Taikan (A Manual of The Japanese Dog), p. 214, 1953 (Reissued in 1987), Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
49. Kajiwara, N., Part VII, p. 15.
50. Hiraizumi, Ryonosuke, "Famous Dogs From Akita (In Japanese)," Nihonken Taikan (A Manual of The Japanese Dog), p. 154, 1953 (Reissued in 1987), Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
51. Okada, M., "Has The Akita Dog Been Restored (Resurrected)?" Part I, Akita World, p.68, July/August 1999.
52. Sato, Naoei, "The Form of The Akita Dog (In Japanese)." Akitainu (The Akita Dog), p. 169, Seibundo Shinkosha Publishing Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan.
53. Okada, M., "A History of The Kongo Line," Akita World, p. 46. Jan./Feb. 1994, Hoflin Publishing Co., Wheat Ridge, Colorado .
54. Kajiwara, N., "Part VIII, The Later Showa Period (1960- ), "The Akita Journal, p. 16, Winter 1979, The Akita Journal Publications.
55. Okada, M., "Goromaru-go, The Ancestor Dog That Rejuvenated The Akita Dog," Akita World, p. 85, March/April 1997.
56. Hiraizumi, R., "Akita Dogs of The Future (In Japanese)." Aiken No Tomo, p. 520, July 1991, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan.
57. Okada, M., "Looking At The Akita Dog, First of Two Articles," Akita World, pp. 77, 80, July/August 1996. 58. Ogasawara, Ichiro, "Helen Keller and Akitas," Los Angeles Akiho Branch Manual, pp. 29-32, August 1970.
59. Okada, M., "Seeking The Roots of Akita Dogs Aboard," Akita World, pp. 57-58, May/June 2000.
60. Okada, M., "An Analysis of The Akita Dog (In Japanese)." Aiken Journal, No. 494:65, December 2000, Shin-Journalsha, Tokyo, Japan.
61. Linderman, Joan M. and Funk, Virginia, The New Complete Akita, p. 72, 1994, Howell Book House, New York.
62. Kamisato, Hiroshi, "Division of The Akita Dog Into Two Breeds By The FCI (In Japanese)." Aiken No Tomo, pp. 1257-1259, January 2000, Seibundo Shinkosha, Tokyo, Japan. history.aca Updated 05/29/2002